No doubt you’ve noticed a change to your currency over the past few years. Paper money in denominations between $5 and $50 have undergone a facelift to enhance security measures and thwart counterfeiters.
Beginning October 8, 2013, the $100 bill will sport a new look, too. The new bill will feature a 3-D Security Ribbon and a Bell in the Inkwell.
A close look at the blue security ribbon woven into the paper shows the imprint of bells at first glance. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the ribbon and the bells change to 100s.
In a similar fashion, a bell pictured in the copper inkwell seems to appear and disappear when the note is tilted. The bell changes in color from copper to green to create the effect.
While tilted, the number 100 in the lower right corner of the front of the note will also shift from copper to green.
When you hold the note to the light, a faint image of Benjamin Franklin will appear in the blank space to the right of the main portrait. You’ll also reveal an embedded security threat running vertically to the left of the portrait. The letters USA and the number 100 will display in an alternating pattern visible from both sides of the note. The thread will glow pink under an ultraviolet light.
Slide your finger up and down Benjamin Franklin’s left shoulder. It will feel rough to the touch.
A large, gold number 100 is printed on the back of the note to help the visually impaired.
These new features were all added to make it easier for consumers to detect counterfeit bills. If you suspect a bill you received is not legitimate, contact the police for their inspection. They’ll return it to you if the bill is the real thing. If not, you are best served to let them keep it. Distributing counterfeit money is a federal offense.
All U.S. currency remains legal tender. No need to trade in the bills you have stashed in your wallet for a newer model. They’re still good.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony issued the first paper money in the U.S. back in 1690 to cover the costs of military expeditions. The practice spread to the other colonies.
Benjamin Franklin was the first to introduce innovative measures into the printing of colonial notes in 1739. He incorporated raised impressions from actual leaves to make the colonial notes hard to counterfeit.
The Coinage Act of 1792 created the U.S. Mint and established a federal monetary system. It designated the silver dollar as the unit of money in the U.S. and created a decimal system for our currency.
It also authorized construction of a mint building in Philadelphia, the nation’s capital at the time. The first U.S. coins were struck in 1793.
Until 1990, all paper money was printed in a Washington, D.C. government facility. The Bureau’s Western Currency Facility in Forth Worth, Texas now shares the responsibility. Look for a small FW in the top left corner of the new $100 bill to indicate it was printed in Forth Worth.
Security threads and microprinting were introduced to deter counterfeiting as advanced copiers and printers became popular in 1990. I’m not sure anyone could have envisioned 3-D printer technology back then. But I’m guessing the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is already at the drawing board, ready to tackle all new counterfeiting efforts as they emerge.